RERMAG

**The New Rental Challenge

RER 100 SNAPSHOT
The RER 100 approached $8.7 billion in combined rental revenue in 2000 — a 65 percent increase over 1998.

The tough tasks of fiscal and organizational structuring are the top priority during a time of increased competition and economic slowdown.



For the past three years, the upper echelons of the RER 100 have been acquiring smaller companies at a fast and furious pace, filling out their national footprint and moving into markets with abandon.

Not any more. As support from equity markets ebbs, as Wall Street investors give the rental industry the cold shoulder, and as the consolidators have filled their maps with pins, the era of acquisitions has clearly passed — at least for now.

Now the big players have a more challenging assignment — to show they can compete in the less glamorous, day-to-day grind of running a rental business, repairing equipment and satisfying customers on the job. The tough tasks of fiscal and organizational structuring are the top priority during a time of increased competition and economic slowdown.

Some of the choices may be painful. Industry leading United Rentals is closing branches and reducing expenditures (see accompanying story). Part of its reduction stems from the expectation of decreased demand and an already well-stocked inventory. Still, the company's rental revenue topped $2 billion last year, while nearly tripling its national accounts revenue over the course of 2000. The revenue it gained from sharing equipment alone would place it in the top 10 of the RER 100.

Rental Service Corp, which includes the old Prime Equipment, has also cut significantly in anticipation of reduced demand. However new synergy created by the union of two of the industry's largest firms under the Atlas Copco banner, an experienced management team and strong historical relations with industrial, construction and power-generation customers, should help the company weather major storms.

No. 3 Hertz has reduced its acquisitions and start-ups, concentrating more in 2000 on expansion in Europe than in North America. It also downsized its management level.

Sunbelt, No. 5, has established itself as a major national player with last year's acquisition of Initial, aka BET, which allowed it to expand beyond a 10-state region in the Southeast to a national 26-state stage, including California, Oregon and Washington. It is planning an aggressive start-up program targeting 30 new branches in its fiscal year beginning this month.

National Equipment Services, No. 6, has suffered from shrinking profit margins, which it attributes to equipment surpluses in some markets and rising interest rates. Still, the company posted a rental volume increase of 38 percent without making acquisitions, boosted same-store revenue by 15 percent, and reduced its debt. NES will benefit this year from the opening of its second rebuild center, helping the company reduce its capital expenditures on equipment and also to bring in added revenue as it takes on more third-party remanufacturing contracts.

Brambles, No. 9, has re-invented itself by moving its corporate headquarters from Charlotte to Detroit and renewing its focus on the industrial market. Ameco, No. 11, is in transformation as parent company Fluor is selling the dealership portion of its business — including Stith Equipment, SMA Equipment and J.W. Burress — which collectively account for about half of its North America locations.

The two companies that appear to be struggling the most are No. 4 NationsRent and No. 8 Neff, with under $1 stock prices and little trading action. Their year-end results showed less profit and higher debt and both companies have become more secretive and guarded in their public statements. Still, NationsRent appears committed to expanding its partnership with home-improvement giant Lowe's, and Neff, after its sale to United fell through, has re-committed itself to shoring up its rental operations. While their situations may not be unsalvageable, serious questions about their viability and future health remain.

Regional players were all but written off by many during the consolidation era, but several appear to be thriving and venturing into new directions. Multi-regional Sunstate Equipment, No. 12 — partly owned by Deere and Co. — enjoyed a 13 percent increase according to RER estimates, and is concentrating on penetrating more deeply into its existing markets rather than venturing into new ones. Sunstate is, like many companies, enhancing its electronic services to its customers.

ICM Equipment, No. 10, like Sunbelt, has grown from a regional to a national stage after its merger with Head & Enquist. ICM, now with 48 branches, opened seven high-reach facilities in the Southeast last year, and the new direction has brought vitality and increased revenue.

Ahern Rentals, No. 15, now the industry's largest family-owned firm, expanded to about 10 new markets over the past 18 months since much of its fleet came off large hotel/casino jobs in Las Vegas, and the strategy resulted in a 32 percent volume boost in 2000. Ahern late last year entered the home-improvement, building-supply business through a partnership with Payless Cashways, a big-box chain catering to the light contractor market. Other regional players such as Southeastern Equipment, Modern Equipment, Art's Rental Equipment, Rebel Rents and A Tool Shed continue to thrive.

The traditional independent distributor, doomed to extinction by many over the past few years, is a vital part of the RER 100. Distributors make up at least 60 of the 100 listees and many of the most significant volume gains came from traditional distributors making serious investments into their rental programs.

In recent years distributors knew that in order to survive they needed to change, either by fully embracing short-term rentals or by expanding their service and repair capabilities and making that service even more indispensable than ever. In many cases, they've done both. Twenty-four of the RER 100 companies are either Caterpillar or Komatsu dealers, and the percentage goes into the mid-30s including Deere and Case dealers.

Many other distributors have grown and enhanced their rental programs in recent years. Some of those companies featured rental for years, but have become far more serious and dedicated to it than in the past. For some, such as Furnival/FMC Rents, No. 69, the key was separating rentals from the traditional dealership, creating a distinct structure and staff, with dedicated service departments and sales staff. Other firms, such as Hugg & Hall Equipment, No. 73, found that separate facilities was too expensive and went the opposite way, working out a cooperative infrastructure under a common roof, maximizing synergies while reducing overhead.

In recent years, with the onslaught of capital and consolidation, many distributors, as well as traditional rent-to-rent houses, realized that the only way they could hold their own against better-capitalized outfits was to improve and increase the quality and level of service. That challenge is not as easy as it sounds, but many of those on the current RER 100 succeeded.

Improved and enhanced service has been key for many. Many companies are improving the quality of their service vehicles to be able to repair all but the most complex equipment breakdowns, and companies such as Hugg & Hall Equipment, a six-location company, has more than 100 factory-certified service technicians ready to go on site with their mobile units. Modern Group, No. 25, began a crane repair facility, a new venture providing it with an additional profit center.

Some companies have successfully added product niches they hadn't previously emphasized. And many companies are putting serious efforts into expanding their electronic services, such as online parts catalogs or client access to inventory and account information.

NationsRent, Stephenson's Rent-All, No. 53, and Ahern Rentals have taken a serious look at the home-improvement and builders-supply market, partnering with retail style chains that specialize in servicing the needs of light contractors and homeowners.

While RER 100 companies are working hard to improve their capabilities, continuing success will, to a large extent, depend on the economy. Some say demand remains strong among their customers and they expect 2001 to be comparable or even better than 2000. Others are much more concerned, although a sense of cautious optimism seems to be in the air. If the economy stays relatively strong, if the current downturn that some are experiencing is nothing more than a short-term adjustment, most of the current RER 100 will continue to adapt well to the challenges they face.

But if a serious downturn persists over any significant stretch of time, the adjustments many have made over the past few years, during an economic boom, will seem like mere tinkering compared to the seismic shifts that may lie ahead.

Michael Roth
[email protected]

TOP 10 REVENUE GROWTH

The combined revenue generated by the industry's top 10 companies has doubled in two years and quadrupled in four years. In 2000, the top 10 companies reported nearly $6.5 billion in rental revenue, a gain of 30 percent over 1999. Here is how the group has grown over the past five years:

Year Revenue (B) % Change
2000 $6.49 +32
1999 $4.94 +56
1998 $3.16 +36
1997 $2.32 +55
1996 $1.50


Company Name (Last Year's Rank) Headquarters Top Officer Rental Volume in Millions Total Volume in Millions Number of Outlets Editorial Comments
1 UNITED RENTALS (1)
Greenwich, Conn.
Brad Jacobs
$2,056.7 $2,918.9 755 Moved focus from acquisitions operations as capital markets dried up and national footprint filled out. Reducing fleet expenditures, focusing on increased revenue from shared equipment among branches and national accounts.
2 RENTAL SERVICE CORP. (2)
Houston/Scottsdale, Ariz.
Tom Bennett
$1,102.5 $1,526.8 583 Reduced 7,000-plus workforce 15 percent, closed 28 overlapping branches to improve internal efficiencies between three units: RSC (construction), Prime (industrial) and Prime Energy. Owned by Swedish manufacturer Atlas Copco.
3 HERTZ EQUIPMENT RENTAL CORP. (3)
Park Ridge, N.J.
Gerry Plescia
$830.0* $1,150.0* 288 Estimated revenue is for North America locations only. Topped 100 European locations with several acquisitions, helping generate 53 percent growth worldwide last year. Ford now owns 100 percent of parent company Hertz.
4 NATIONSRENT (4)
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
James Kirk
$546.4 $669.0 207 Cut 546 jobs — about 15 percent of workforce — saving $30 million in annual costs. Focusing on Lowe's partnership with plans for 40 rental centers by end of year, up from current 14.
5 SUNBELT RENTALS (10)
Charlotte, N.C.
Bruce Dressel
$480.0 $550.0 167 Propelled to the national stage after buying BET, this British-owned firm plans to launch 30 start-ups during its next fiscal year. Pacific Northwest, Texas, Midwest and Southeast are on its radar screen.
6 NATIONAL EQUIPMENT SERVICES (5)
Evanston, Ill.
Kevin Rodgers
$470.2 $623.8 190 Grew volume 38 percent, but rate pressures and excess competition shrunk margins. Growing organically rather than by acquisition. Opened second rebuild center to reduce fleet expenditures and leverage service capability.
7 MAXIM CRANE WORKS (25)
Monroeville, Pa.
Jeff Fenton
$366.0 $403.6 47 Nation's top crane company completed five acquisitions in 2000, looking for more in 2001. Not yet feeling the pinch of sagging economy. Rates are good and even increasing in many markets where demand is strong.
8 NEFF (7)
Miami
Pete Gladis
$260.1 n/a 84 Expects rental revenues in 2001 to be slightly higher, but used equipment sales will decrease slightly. Almost purchased by United Rentals this year, before negotiations unraveled.
9 BRAMBLES EQUIPMENT SERVICES (8)
Taylor, Mich.
John Haener
$190.0 n/a 40 Re-tooled company to focus more on industrial and waste management markets, with transfer of headquarters to Detroit area. Reorganized along global, rather than national, lines. Recently obtained ISO 9002, Ford's Q1 certification.
10 ICM EQUIPMENT (11)
Salt Lake City
Gary Bagley
$185.0* $500.0* 48 Known for big facilities with strong support services in the field. Seven new high-reach focused locations in Southeast paid immediate dividends last year.
11 AMECO (9)
Greenville, S.C.
Gary Bernardez
$166.0 $590.0 56 Provides global integrated equipment and tool solutions, including site services for construction projects and fleet outsourcing for industrial customers. Parent company Fluor wants to sell U.S. dealer operations this year.
12 SUNSTATE EQUIPMENT (12)
Phoenix
Mike Watts
$133.0* n/a 48 Preferring to deepen penetration into existing markets rather than enter new ones, multi-regional firm still enjoying solid growth pace. Making big push in online account services to customers.
13 HOME DEPOT RENTALS (26)
Atlanta
Tom McCormick
$130.0* n/a 342* The $45 billion home-improvement retail leader with 1,100-plus stores continues to grow rental presence, including initiatives to court contractors. Rentals occupy about 2 percent of typical 100,000-plus-square-foot stores.
14 FINNING (14)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Doug Whitehead
$64.4 $776.4 28 Caterpillar dealer for Western Canada. Recently added online used equipment listings. Revenue includes Chile and U.K., where it bought one of country's largest rental firms.
15 AHERN RENTALS (18)
Las Vegas
Don Ahern
$64.1 $79.9 24 Industry's largest family-owned firm specializes in aerial equipment, complemented by earthmoving and the manufacture of truck beds. Seeking broader market in new alliance with Payless Cashways contractor-supply outlet.
16 BRIGGS EQUIPMENT (19)
Dallas
Homer Denning
$60.0 n/a 34 Case dealer and distributor for Florida and North Carolina acquired 15 construction equipment rental stores in 2000, joining 20 industrial equipment locations, including three in Mexico. Revenue excludes new acquisitions.
17 L.B. SMITH (17)
Camp Hill, Pa.
R.E. Jordan
$55.0* $400.0* 50 Acquired Strongco's 10-location Mid-Atlantic unit earlier this year. Covering 11 states from Florida to upstate New York. Key lines include Bomag, Grove and Kobelco.
18 RENTX INDUSTRIES (15)
Denver
Harry Fedden
$52.0* $70.0* 70 One of the first consolidators, and only one to focus primarily on homeowner segment. May soon be sold again. Former CEO Skip Evans retired last year. In 13 states.
19 SOUTHEASTERN EQUIPMENT (16)
Cambridge, Ohio
William Baker
$49.0 $175.0 15 Web site allows users to search for more than 300 pieces of equipment by make, model, price and availability. The site also features specials on rentals, company news and new product information.
20 NC MACHINERY (22)
Seattle
John Harnish
$47.0* n/a 18 One of largest Cat dealers, soon opening seventh Cat Rental Store under MPE compact equipment unit, which accounted for about $15 million in 2000. Strong power and heavy equipment rental presence in Washington, Alaska — even Russia.
21 BATTLEFIELD EQUIPMENT RENTALS (24)
Stoney Creek, Ontario
Randy Casson
$46.0 $75.0 27 Eastern Canada's leading Cat Rental player, strong construction and industrial market presence. President Bill Attwell retiring after 25 years, leaving company well-poised for growth.
22 WAGNER RENTS (23)
Denver
Bruce Wagner
$44.0* n/a 13 The prototype Cat Rental Store program, Wagner is a dominant player in the Colorado market. Complements Caterpillar equipment with full range of construction equipment from large to small.
23 RING RENTS (29)
Tampa, Fla.
Lance Ringhaver
$39.0* n/a 9 Caterpillar and Sullair compressor dealer in central Florida is major player in power-generation market. Also strong material handling, aerial and road-paving fleets, and a separate crane division.
24 SKYREACH EQUIPMENT (—)
St. Albert, Alberta
Barry Weaver
$38.4 $51.2 15 One of Canada's leading aerial players, particularly strong in western provinces. Has ownership share of Edmonton Oilers pro hockey team who play in the Skyreach Centre.
25 MODERN GROUP (32)
Bristol, Pa.
David Griffith
$36.0 $158.2 23 One of the largest regional independents, with major forklift and high reach fleets covering Mid-Atlantic region. Recently opened crane repair facility.
26 STAR RENTALS (31)
Seattle
Bob Kendall
$35.8 $51.4 15 Foreseeing slowdown in demand in 2001, this major independent player in the Northwest plans to adjust by monitoring fleet size. Plans to open two or three branches this year.
27 STEWART & STEVENSON (30)
Houston
Michael Grimes
$35.5* $930.0* 32 Rents pumps, generators, tractors, forklifts, air compressors, aerials and niche industrial products for the agriculture, airline ground support, highway and oil and gas industries.
28 ECCO EQUIPMENT (—)
Santa Ana, Calif.
Don Schmid
$35.0 $36.3 7 Specializes in operator-included heavy-equipment rental. Fleet includes excavators, dozers, loaders, scrapers, compactors, 20- to 50-ton trucks, motor graders and water towers.
29 CONTRACTOR RENTAL/AIS (33)
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Jim Behrenwald
$34.0 $45.0 7 Large rental player in the upper Midwest sees a good year ahead. Main brands include Komatsu, Hitachi and JCB. Has no difficulty keeping employees with many laid-off employees of national chains approaching the company.
30 STRONGCO (20)
Mississauga, Ontario
Larry Pirnak
$32.0* $283.4 70 Multi-line distributor sold mid-Atlantic operations to L.B. Smith. Ended Hitachi relationship this year, signing with Volvo as dealer for Alberta, Manitoba. Nine dedicated rental locations in Canada.
31 WAJAX LTD. (27)
Mississauga, Ontario
Walter Fox
$29.4 $728.8 140 Founded in 1869, now has 140 locations across Canada and northeast U.S. Distributor with principal interests in mining, forestry, utilities and material handling. Focusing on internal company growth to strengthen firm.
32 HAWTHORNE RENT-IT SERVICE (34)
San Diego
Tom Hawthorne
$29.1 $34.0 10 A rental player since the 1950s, rents and sells 300 Cat products, has power-generation and aerial divisions, dealerships in Mexico, Samoa and Tonga. Offers one of industry's largest re-manufacturing facilities.
33 KELLY TRACTOR (38)
Miami
John Socol
$29.0 n/a 7 Established in 1933. Southern Florida Cat and Sullair dealer. Full range of construction equipment. Complete in-house service and repair facilities.
34 MUSTANG RENTAL SERVICES (37)
Channelview, Texas
Louis Tucker
$27.5 n/a 7 Longtime rental player with strong links to Texas' petrochemical and construction markets. Opened seventh branch in northwest Houston in 2000, will open another in Houston later this year.
35 GREGORY POOLE EQUIPMENT (—)
Charlotte, N.C.
Greg Poole III
$26.4 $260.0 8 Caterpillar dealer covering the Carolinas with construction, industrial and power systems divisions. Four full-service facilities offer largest rental fleet in eastern North Carolina.
36 PETERSON RENTS (40)
San Leandro, Calif.
Mike Heinz
$26.0* $50.0* 6 Business is strong for Northern California's largest Caterpillar dealer, specializing in backhoe loaders, articulated trucks and compactors. Also capitalizing on state's energy crunch with temporary power rentals.
37 NORTHRIDGE EQUIPMENT RENTALS (45)
Northridge, Calif.
Howard Groff
$25.7 $29.6 5 Celebrating 50 years in business, a major southern California player in film and TV production, construction, industrial, utilities and municipalities. Experienced management team oversees extensive service capabilities.
38 WESTERN POWER & EQUIPMENT (39)
Vancouver, Wash.
Dean McLain
$25.5 $154.7 18 Store consolidations last year and market softness in several areas negatively impacted sales in the second fiscal quarter. Company sells, rents and leases construction, industrial and agricultural equipment for Case and 30-plus others.
39 SCOTT CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT (—)
Baton Rouge, La.
Jack Fendrick
$25.2* $250.0* 16 Distributor serving Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas through three divisions has stepped up rental efforts in recent years. Lines include Volvo, Case, New Holland and Terex.
40 IMPERIAL CRANE SERVICES (63)
Bridgeview, Ill.
John Bohne
$25.0 $30.0 4 Made significant equipment additions to crawler fleet and large all-terrain fleet, while implementing more aggressive pricing structure. Offers in-depth safety training programs.
41 LOUISIANA RENTS (—)
Reserve, La.
Bobby Webb
$24.6 n/a 6 Industry veterans Donald Charbonnet and Jay Dinger bring experience to this Cat dealer's eight heavy machinery and six Cat Rental Store locations. Built rental division in less than two years.
42 WACO SCAFFOLDING & EQUIPMENT (42)
Cleveland
Marty Coughlin
$24.0 $79.0 16 Country's leading scaffolding rental specialist plans, designs, erects and dismantles large scaffolding jobs, providing engineering and shoring services as well as enclosures with ventilation. Designs equipment, tools and supplies.
43 BUTLER MACHINERY (34)
Fargo, N.D.
Dan Butler
$23.6 $167.1 8 Rental volume dipped about 15 percent last year, anticipating 10 percent reduction this year because of market slowdown. On upside, new training center in full swing. Cat dealer for most of Dakotas.
44 SPIDER, div. of SAFEWORKS (55)
Tukwila, Wash.
Tom Cross
$23.0 $60.0 25 Scaffolding specialist designs, manufacturers and rents traction hoists, modular platforms, baskets, decks, ventilation systems and rigging products.
45 ANDERSON EQUIPMENT (44)
Bridgeville, Pa.
Richard Anderson
$22.5* n/a 14 Family-owned company covers markets from Kentucky to Canada with more than 80 service trucks. Increased rental presence since 1996 acquisition of New York-based Rupp Rental. Lines include JCB, Komatsu and Gradall.
46 ATLANTIC RENTALS (67)
Woodstock, New Brunswick
Ed Barrett
$21.6* n/a 20 Leading rental company in Canada's Atlantic provinces maintains wide inventory with innovative merchandise and products. Dedicated material handling division offers sales, rental and consulting services.
47 ART'S RENTAL EQUIPMENT (46)
Newport, Ky.
Ken Arlinghaus
$21.5* $29.5* 9 A construction-oriented, family-owned firm with a long history of strong relationships in growing Cincinnati/northern Kentucky region.
48 OHIO MACHINERY (50)
Broadview Heights, Ohio
Kenneth Taylor
$21.0 $161.0 8 Cat dealer for eastern Ohio covers short-term rental market with four Miller Cat Rental locations. Also operates six locations specializing in longer-term rentals, sales and parts.
49 COMPRESORES & EQUIPOS (47)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Francisco de Armas
$20.9 $22.2 8 Added larger inventory such as 30-ton cranes, big loaders, excavators, and big generators. Curtailed international expansion efforts for now. New headquarters will expand service capability.
50 TEMP-AIR (—)
Burnsville, Minn.
Roger Johnson
$19.5 $21.0 15 A division of Rupp Industries, No. 1 provider of temporary heating, ventilation and cooling systems to the construction market.
51 PUERTO RICO WIRE (54)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Jose Cestero
$19.2 $50.0 5 Diverse rental fleet includes scaffolding and forming divisions. Continuing to grow in the face of increasing competition on the island.
52 ROLAND MACHINERY (52)
Springfield, Ill.
Ray Roland
$19.2 $114.1 9 Komatsu dealer with diverse rental inventory added branch in Columbia, Mo., and will continue northern Illinois expansion this year. Concerned about rental rate erosion. Does big rental business with fiber optic cable industry.
53 STEPHENSON'S RENT-ALL (58)
Mississauga, Ontario
Chris McKay
$19.0 $24.0 46 Homeowner, light-contractor specialist with departments in 18 home-improvement centers saw 16 percent increase. Betting on trend toward retail-style environments with experienced staff to attract new customers to rental.
54 CONECO EQUIPMENT (56)
Edmonton, Alberta
Brian Anderson
$18.2* n/a 9 Canada's largest Komatsu dealer has 55 service trucks, 24-hour parts desks and will soon offer parts online. Handles Ingersoll-Rand and others, but heavy iron is its specialty.
55 TRICO EQUIPMENT (57)
Vineland, N.J.
Joseph Pustizzi, Jr.
$18.0 $46.0 9 Added branches in Allentown, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati within the last 12 months. Offering Genie, Case, Snorkel, JLG.
56 REBEL RENTS (—)
Temecula, Calif.
John Hoham
$17.1 $17.1 12 Former owner of Foothill Rentals returns to RER 100 with entrepreneurial company that lives up to name, emerging as top Southern California rental player in short time while marching to own beat.
57 HOLT GROUP (61)
Columbus, Ohio
Peter Holt
$17.0* n/a 9 Business is strong for this Catepillar dealer, emphasizing paving equipment. Also has power-systems division. Cat dealer for western Ohio since 1985 created rental services division in 1998. Five locations are full-service facilities. offering construction and power system rentals.
58 COWIN EQUIPMENT (65)
Birmingham, Ala.
James Cowin
$16.7 $68.0* 5 Rental volume, total sales down slightly for this family-owned company that carries construction and mining lines for Ingersoll-Rand, Grove, Kobelco and Kawasaki.
59 MITCHELL RENTS (59)
Charlotte, N.C.
Bill Cummins
$16.4* n/a 10 Komatsu dealer is force in West Virginia/Carolinas region, in business for 60 years. Slower economy, wet winter and statebudgetary problems leading to slightly lower expectations this year.
60 NORTRAX (—)
Moline, Ill.
Jim Earnshaw
$16.0* $400.0* 30 Joint venture created by John Deere Construction Equipment and Credit Suisse First Boston to consolidate Deere dealers. Regional operations in upper Midwest, Northeast and Florida.
61 SIMS CRANE & EQUIPMENT (—)
Tampa, Fla.
Dean Sims
$15.8 $18.5 3 Major player in central Florida, extending throughout Southeast, renting large cranes with trained union operators. Complements cranes with aerial work platforms, forklifts, hoists and high-rise construction elevator rental.
62 RENTAL MAX (—)
Wheaton, Ill.
Terry Hagy
$15.0 $15.5 12 Chicagoland's largest rental chain serving contractors, homeowners and industrial segments. Inventory features more than 1,000 tools.
63 BINDER MACHINERY(60)
South Plainfield, N.J.
Robert Binder
$14.7 n/a 3 Offers a complete line of earthmoving, rock crushing, welders, generators, pumps and aeriarl work platforms. This 170-employee Komatsu dealer says business as usual in 2001.
64 ROMCO EQUIPMENT (—)
Dallas
Robert Mullins
$14.3 $88.0 8 Marking its 40th year in business, heavy equipment specialist represents Volvo, Hitachi and Ingersoll-Rand, among others. Mobile screening, sand and gravel plants complement earthmoving fleet.
65 AMERICON (66)
Louisville, Ky.
Marvin Clark
$14.0 n/a 7 Opened three stores in 2000, close to opening another in coming months. Owned by Whayne Equipment, a Cat dealer. Inventory ranges from backhoes and hydraulic hammers to excavators.
66 ADMAR SUPPLY (73)
Rochester, N.Y.
Richard DiMarco
$13.6 $25.5 4 Founder's contracting background, personalized service and controlled growth keep this family-owned company the largest independent serving upstate New York. Key brands: Genie, Skyjack, Sky Trak and Snorkel.
67 CLM EQUIPMENT (53)
Lafayette, La.
Floyd Degueyter
$13.3 $48.5 5 Case and Kobelco dealer in southern Louisiana and Texas. Company's overall revenues grew but rentals held back by weak rates in region. Major player in oilfield and pipeline markets.
68 O'BRIEN ENERGY SERVICES (74)
Wilmington, Del.
Bill Iorio
$13.0* n/a 5 Business booming with increased temporary power rental demand for this worldwide generator specialist. Branches in California and Texas. Rumored subject of acquisition talks.
69 FURNIVAL MACHINERY/FMC RENTS (68)
Hatfield, Pa.
Ronald Ludchak
$12.5 $75.5 10 Komatsu specialist continues to grow rental expertise, concentrating in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. Service team dominated awards at national Komatsu competition.
70 POWER LIFT (68)
Pico Rivera, Calif.
Richard Cowan
$12.5 $58.0 5 Converted to a new software and sales automation system last year. Projects 5 percent growth. Main lines are Caterpillar lift trucks, Kalmar, EZ-Go, Advance, Drexel and Bendi.
71 SHEPHERD RENTALS (83)
Whittier, Calif.
Bill Shepherd III
$12.3 $15.2 4 75-year-old Cat dealer has become rental stalwart, staffing rental veterans. Concentrating on Cat's growing line of compact machines, also strong in Cat's big machines, air compressors, aerials, generators, tools and more.
72 ROAD MACHINERY & SUPPLIES (—)
Savage, Minn.
Mike Sill
$12.2 $99.6 10 One of the strongest Komatsu dealers in upper Midwest, trying to grow light equipment side of its rental business with forklifts, air compressors and concrete equipment.
73 HUGG & HALL EQUIPMENT (78)
Little Rock, Ark.
John Hugg/Robert Hall
$12.0 $51.4 6 With 80 percent of its business in the industrial market, forklift specialist less likely to suffer in potential downturn. Also maintains large aerial fleet, 45 service trucks and 100 certified mechanics.
74 SMITH TRACTOR & EQUIPMENT (70)
Kent, Wash.
Scott Highland
$11.5 $80.0 8 John Deere dealer serving Washington and Alaska has more than 400 units in rental fleet and 70 technicians. About $4 million parts inventory.
75 T-K-O EQUIPMENT (—)
Grand Prairie, Texas
Marlin Smith
$11.2 $20.2 3 Heavy equipment specialist strong in earthmoving, excavating and rock-crushing equipment. Big player in Texas and Oklahoma, sells used equipment worldwide.
76 A TOOL SHED (75)
Campbell, Calif.
Larry Pedersen
$11.0 $11.0 8 With national chains fighting over big iron, Pedersen cleans up in homeowner, light contractor market, and still strong in aerial rentals. Has increased inventory to lessen equipment transfers while maintaining high utilization.
77 SES EQUIPMENT (—)
West Chicago, Ill.
Steve Martines
$10.7 $23.0 2 Earthmoving specialist with heavy emphasis on training mechanics. Well-equipped service trucks feature advanced diagnostic capabilities.
78 NORTRAX SOUTH (—)
Baton Rouge, La.
Chuck Paugh
$10.6 n/a 20 Formed as separate entity with same mission as Nortrax (No. 60). With four acquisitions under belt, covering parts of Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas.
79 NATIONAL LIFT TRUCK (77)
Elmhurst, Ill.
James Dietz
$10.5 n/a 1 Only one of three single-location RER 100 companies, but plans for future acquisitions. Expects continued rise in 2001 rental revenue. Specializes in forklifts, aerial work platforms and material handling equipment.
80 WELLINGTON EQUIPMENT (75)
Menomonee Falls, Wis.
Ken Shaw
$10.3* $12.2* 5 Opening fifth Wisconsin branch, launching online aerial reservation system. Strong re-rental activity in Toronto sparks consideration of Canadian branch.
81 RUSH EQUIPMENT CENTER (85)
Houston
Robin Rush
$10.0 n/a 9 John Deere dealer experienced 20 percent rise in rental volume despite compressed margins. Looking to triple number of outlets in next three years.
82 HANDY RENT-ALL CENTER (82)
Wappingers Fall, N.Y.
Gene Lois
$9.6 $12.0 10 Survived last downturn by buying two companies and penetrating new markets. Might adopt similar strategy if bad-weather woes portend slow year.
83 CATE EQUIPMENT (78)
Salt Lake City
Perry Pardoe
$9.3 $48.7 7 Strong parts and service capabilities after nearly 70 years in the business helps weather volume decreases. Demand appears strong in Rocky Mountain region.
84 AIR TOOL EXCHANGE (81)
Houston
Troy Massey
$8.9 n/a 4 Company purchased by 14-store Georgia rental company but still operating as Air Tool Exchange. Focusing on small tool rentals and air compressors
85 ROAD MACHINERY (—)
Phoenix
Elroy Carlson
$8.7 $97.0 11 Purchased by Komatsu America last year, multi-line distributor has Arizona and New Mexico divisions and one outlet in Sonora, Mexico. Serves construction and mining industries.
86 RASMUSSEN EQUIPMENT (80)
Salt Lake City
Dick Rasmussen
$8.6 $25.0 2 Rent-to-own-conversions down along with rental rates, but this earthmoving specialist keeps busy with road, mining and municipal projects. Represents multiple manufacturers.
87 A&G ASSOCIATES (87)
Leominster, Mass.
Roger Gamache, Jr.
$8.3 n/a 13 Company targets small contractors and homeowners. Absence of national players and focus on niche markets have kept business strong. Optimistic about revenue growth in 2001.
88 GAR EQUIPMENT (86)
Plainfield, N.J.
Matt Rocca
$8.0 $10.0 3 Independent firm with primary rental items aerial platforms, underground access equipment, rough-terrain forklifts. Business is strong, not feeling effects of rate pressures. Not looking to acquire.
89 ALL-STAR RENTS (93)
Fairfield, Calif.
Ken de Vries
$7.9 $8.5 9 Expecting another strong year as customer demand looks steady. Getting into larger equipment with aerials and reach forklifts. Moved headquarters from Vallejo to larger facility in Fairfield.
90 KNOX-TENN RENTAL & SALES (72)
Knoxville, Tenn.
J. Scott Cowin
$7.5 n/a 4 Oldest rental company in Tennessee closed one store in 2000. Revenue down due to consolidation, rate-cutting and increased competition. Expects flat revenues in 2001.
91 BROCKMAN EQUIPMENT (90)
Detroit
Ed Brockman
$7.3 n/a 1 Single store specializes in forklifts and aerial equipment. Line include Condor, Skyjack, Taylor and Versalift.
92 U-RENT (91)
Ventura, Calif.
Paul Arbon
$7.2 n/a 9 Facing entrance of national players into area, independent no longer rents excavators, graders and other large equipment. Focusing on backhoes and smaller machines.
93 TRACK & TIRE (—)
Cocoa, Fla.
Roy Estes
$7.1 $8.9 3 Recently opened branches in Savannah, Ga., and Ft. Myers, Fla. Offering late-model construction/mining equipment, including loaders, dozers, graders, excavators.
94 DIAMOND RENTALS (—)
Salt Lake City
Troy Porras
$7.0 $7.5 8 Going against grain, with private equity investor backing rather than national chains. Growing into power in the Rocky Mountain region. Hopes to add four branches in the next year.
95 PDQ RENTALS (97)
Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
Dennis Turner
$7.0 $8.8 2 Nearly 50 years in business, a general rental company with wide-ranging fleet. Bought out old friend to open second location last year.
96 D&B INTERNATIONAL (95)
Houston
Angus Davis
$6.7 n/a 1 One of three sister companies with combined revenue of about $11 million. Rates have remained stable in competitive market. Expecting to improve bottom line in 2001.
97 EMPIRE EQUIPMENT (98)
Sacramento, Calif.
Gary Young
$6.7 n/a 10 Business outlook good because of dry weather conditions for this John Deere dealer specializing in backhoes, excavators and other construction equipment.
98 W.I. CLARK (—)
Wallingford, Conn.
Douglas Hansen
$6.5 $200.0* 3 A 75-year-old company with strong maintenance system and solid heavy-equipment credentials.
99 JEFFERDS CORP. (99)
St. Albans, Va.
Richard Sinclair
$6.5 $60.0 12 One of the southeast's leading material handling specialists throughout Virginias, Tennessee and Kentucky. Online order catalog enhances sales. Strong with Bobcat as well as aerial rentals.
100 VICTOR L. PHILLIPS (96)
Kansas City, Mo.
Jim Foreman
$6.3 n/a 5 Outlook good primarily for highway construction equipment such as paving and compaction machinery.
* Denotes RER estimate based on regional economic conditions, industry sources, field observations and interviews by members of the RER staff. Companies acquired during 2000 are no longer on the RER 100 separate from the company that acquired them. Revenue figures are based on actual reported revenue for North American operations as of April 15, 2001, and do not include pro forma revenue, but do include crane rental, unlike past years. Location data are as of April 15, 2001, except where otherwise noted. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy and thoroughness, omissions sometimes occur. All figures in U.S. dollars.

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